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Fear The Dragon Upsets Huntsville

Published: May 21, 2017 11:28 pm ET

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Fear The Dragon used a huge backstretch spurt to flash by divisional leader Huntsville nearing the three-quarters mark, then went on to easily defeat last year’s freshman champ by two and a half lengths in 1:49.1 while winning one of three divisions of the $148,492 second leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts Sunday night (May 21) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Driver David Miller held the victorious son of Dragon Again in reserve early in fifth, with the 1-9 Huntsville tucking third early then coming out soon off the first turn to brush to the lead past the wire. Huntsville looked a little sideways late on the turn at the :54.4 half, and that’s when Miller made his move with Fear The Dragon.

Fear The Dragon and driver David Miller winning a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on May 21 at Pocono. (Curtis Salonick)

The wind aided horses down the backstretch at Pocono Sunday, and when Miller tipped Fear The Dragon out he sent him up to the leader full throttle, with the third quarter officially timed in :27.3 and 'the Dragon,' officially four lengths out at the half, knocking almost a second off that fraction to make the front easily late backstretch and open a clear margin. Huntsville gave pursuit but could not find any extra steps to get him closer, and Miller guided the winner under the line in hand to take a new mark and send his earnings to $276,298 for trainer Brian Brown.

Owner Emerald Highlands Farm now has a colt (who defeated Huntsville at Philly last year) dead-square in the sophomore spotlight with Huntsville and another Brian Brown trainee, Downbytheseaside – and they also have the only double Sire Stakes winner in this division as well as the fastest winner at Pocono this year.

Trainer Jimmy Takter sent out the winners in the other two Sire Stakes divisions, both Somebeachsomewhere colts posting clockings of 1:50.3. Ocean Colony salvaged some pride for the chalkplayers in winning his division, with the 1-5 favourite coming out of the two-hole midturn for driver Yannick Gingras and then going by strong pacesetter Eddard Hanover midstretch, winning on his own by three-quarters of a length for the ownership of Christina Takter, John Fielding, Hatfield Stables, and MKatz ALibfeld SGoldband.

Blood Line sprung a 12-1 surprise in his Sire Stakes division, with driver Mark MacDonald sending the colt directly to the lead despite the outside post seven and then guiding home in :54.4 to take a new lifetime mark of 1:50.3. Favoured Filibuster Hanover pulled outside late on the backstretch and narrowed in on the leader, but Blood Line was tough on the engine and resisted the first leg Sire Stakes winner by a half-length for trainer Takter and owners Diamond Creek Racing.

There were also a pair of $25,000 Winners Over events for top older pacers on the Sunday card. In the event for pacing mares, the McArdle distaff Nike Franco N posted her second straight triumph, brushing to the lead in front of the stands and then stepping her last half in :54.4 – :26.4 to earn a new mark and pushed her lifetime bankroll to $402,743 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Jo Ann Looney-King, and owner Richard Poillucci.

In a trotting contest, Rubber Duck and Meladys Monet received the same win pool backing to the dollar, and their second half duel was just as close, with the first-over Rubber Duck, a son of Muscle Mass, grinding on very gamely to inch away late from the pacesetting Meladys Monet, getting a half-length decision in 1:53 for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Richard Johnson, and owners Blair and Ema Corbeil.

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana stopped by the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for a special Sunday meet and greet with fans. After the signing, he toured the paddock, met and had pictures taken with drivers and other horsemen, and rode in the starting gate.

(PHHA / Pocono)

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